Green-Schools, known internationally as Eco-Schools, is an international environmental education programme, environmental management system and award scheme that promotes and acknowledges long-term, whole school action for the environment.
A Green Flag is awarded to a school every two years. Our school was awarded with our fifth Green Flag in June 2014. This flag was awarded for work completed in the school on the theme of Biodiversity and on efforts made by the school to increase levels of awareness with regards to the value and importance of biodiversity, threats to biodiversity and ways in which we can help biodiversity, especially in our school grounds.
Previously our school has been awarded Green Flags for Recycling, Energy Conservation, Water Conservation and Travel. Participation in these projects has had a positive impact on creating a more environmentally sustainable school.
We are currently working on attaining our sixth Green Flag which focuses on the theme of Global Citizenship and Waste.
We have a Green School Committee and co-ordinating teachers. Bi-annually a new Green School Committee is elected. We hold whole school initiatives to get all classes involved, including poster competitions and competitions for slogans etc. We look forward to our work on the Global Citizenship theme and we are hopeful that our International Day celebrations will be a fitting starting point.
Organic School Garden
In 2014 it was decided to develop an organic garden to the rear of our school. Our students were involved throughout the planning process and thoroughly enjoyed drawing up plans in Maths class and three dimensional designs in Art class. Eventually, a simple garden plan of four raised rectangular beds with a central herb area was decided upon. The site chosen for the garden has a sunny aspect, at the rear of the school, surrounded by a safe enclosure and with majestic mountains as its backdrop.
We utilised top-soil from recent building works and manure was provided by our generous local vets, Kenmare Veterinary Centre, and mixed into the soil to enrich it prior to cultivation.
Senior classes visited the garden and learned that plants belong to different families and that it is traditional practice to grow vegetables from the same family together in one bed and move it to another the following year by way of a crop rotation system. Our junior classes grew some very tall sunflowers!
We have practiced this crop rotation system in the garden with each class taking charge of a particular bed and planting seeds from a particular crop family. The children have enjoyed food prepared and cooked in the school using the crops they cultivated.
Planting of vegetables will resume again in March/April.
We also planted some native trees, including oak and hazel, and a variety of bulbs to enhance our school environment. We look forward to continuing the development of our school garden and enhancing our outdoor classroom in the coming year.